Play the hand you’re dealt, and trust that God is Sovereign.
This was a small part of our church service yesterday. This was shared by our pastor from his friend’s social media post. At first you read this and you think “sure, great words to live by” but it turns out that this woman has been through the sadness of losing her son on a hiking trip while he was a counselor at a Christian camp. When she typed this, she felt it. It has more meaning to her than a few words strung together to inspire someone.
When I read these words on the screen, it was moving to say the least. I have, in the past, thought about life in a similar analogy. I had to start thinking this when my life spiraled out of my control in 2014. I was dealt a pretty crappy hand, but I was thankful to still be in the game.
Every day I feel thankful to still be in the game. So, I will keep playing the hand I have been dealt.
I am not shy to admit that in 2014 I grew angry with God. In the moments of darkness, it is hard to remember that you are not alone. It is hard to understand that you can get through those times. It is hard to understand WHY God (or the universe, if you are more comfortable thinking in those terms) would put you through so much, and when you are about to break, toss one more curve ball at you.
It took me a little time to realize that this was not a healthy reaction. It took me a while to remember that He would not give me more than I could handle, and what an empowering feeling to come back to. I would say that it’s really just the past year or two that I have come back to the realization that there is more to this than what is happening in this moment. That there is this higher, ultimate power in control of my life, someone Sovereign, if you will. Sometimes it is still hard for me to wrap my mind around it, but I have to believe that we are not just here for this life and nothing more.
Tonight as I was writing this, for the second day really, I took a break (because I can’t seem to focus too long lately). During this break I read, or listened to it be read to me, a chapter from King’s Cross. More and more in my life, I read something that seems to eerily relate to some other aspect in my current life. It’s almost this “ah-ha” moment, that is hard to ignore. This happened during this chapter, in relation to suffering. Timothy Keller writes “Suffering happens, we might say, when there’s a gap between the desires of your heart and the circumstances of your life.” He goes on to the different options we have, change your circumstances or suppress your desires. I really believe that a good balance of both of these options is what I stumbled upon during the last 5 years of my life, that somehow, without my consent or knowledge, landed me where I am.
The obvious and easiest of these is to change your circumstances. That was something that I had to do quickly. I had to change my life and break relationships and move on from the things that were holding me back. Not just temporary changes-but really analyzing aspects of my life and cutting and pasting things together differently. In doing that, I had to become okay with where I was going. I had to blindly trust that there was going to be an end to what I was going through and accept that it might not be the plan that I thought I had for myself. There is the balance; suppressing the desires I thought I had in those plans. Suppressing the desires I had for that period of my life. Accepting that it would be okay, somehow, at some point in the future. (please do not get this confused with settling. I am not a settler, and I don’t think that is what is meant by “suppressing your desires”) I think that the point is to trust in what you cannot see, and knowing that there is more than just what you are going through, or what you want. If you can achieve a relationship with God (which I admittedly am still working on, and believe I will always be perfecting) this balance is easier to find, whether you realize it or not. You won’t have to constantly worry about changing your circumstances or suppressing your desires, because you can trust that it is in His hands. I could write for hours on this and talk through a million circles that would probably confuse us all, so I will stop before it gets there.
Now I don’t know if there is this eternity of plans set out, and that every single decision is known for us already, but maybe that is the case. What I do know is that every decision, pre-planned or not, will lead us down a path. That path is going to have storms that balance the sunshine, happiness that is shadowed by sorrow, and moments of pride that are offset by moments we wish we would not have lived. But all of these are pieces of what make us, us. The hand that we were dealt. So I am going to keep playing it, because the truth is, I love this hand and I am grateful to be able to do so.